Grads, the challenge is yours.

Well, the school year is coming to a close and for those of you that have spent the last 8-10 months pouring over books and studying for endless hours into the night, summer is almost here! It is an exciting time of the year and we can only imagine that many of you are looking forward to some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

Untitled2We would like to congratulate all those individuals who have worked so hard at completing another school year, particularly those who are approaching graduation, as this is an incredibly exciting milestone. You are now entering the world of adulthood, which comes with many exciting changes, but also more responsibilities.

We are proud of our youth crossing this milestone, but we also hope that as our youth enter adulthood they take their responsibilities to themselves and to society seriously.

In Canada, the time of graduation tends to correspond closely with an individual entering the legal age to purchase and consume alcohol. Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol has also become well associated with graduation celebrations. In fact, binge drinking (4 or more drinks for girls and 5 or more drinks for guys) tends to peak between the ages of 18 and 22. Aside from the physical effects alcohol can have on your body, such as loss of consciousness, hangovers, alcohol poisoning, loss of balance, and increased risk for illnesses like cancer or liver disease, drinking alcohol can lead to many other problems. For example, among young adults who report binge drinking, upwards of 87% of them have experienced other problems such as physical assault, sexual assault, injury, impaired driving, sleep and academic problems. Further, approximately 1 in 7 (15%) of all drinkers will go on to develop alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence problems.

Untitled3Alcohol use doesn’t just impact the person drinking; it also has a huge negative effect on our society. The economic cost of alcohol in Canada is estimated to be around $148 billion dollars a year. This figure includes, medical costs, lost productivity, crime and losses from premature deaths. So, with these facts in mind we want to send our soon to be graduates off with a challenge. We want you to celebrate, like we said, you deserve it! But instead of starting your journey into adulthood by causing harm to yourself and others around you, we challenge you to be a leader in making smart, safe, and healthy choices. Take the Be You Promise; make a commitment to yourself to be the best you that you can possibly be. You are special and there is only one of you, so take care of yourself. Remember, as an adult you are now responsible for yourself, so take that responsibility and make safe and healthy choices.

You are also the future. Be a leader and make our community a safe and healthy one. Take the Be You Promise today.